Headway Suffolk

Ipswich Hub 01473 712225

Bury Hub 01284 702535

Join us for a virtual Christmas Carol Service

Headway Suffolk is inviting local businesses and supporters to join them for a virtual Christmas Carol Service on Tuesday 22 December at 11am.

Traditionally, everyone comes together for a carol service at St Augustine’s Church in Ipswich, followed by lunch, but Covid-19 has put paid to that in 2020.

However, while we may not be physically together, that won’t stop us getting into the festive spirit!

So join us as clients, staff, volunteers and supporters all come together online to sing carols and share season’s greetings.

Winter Wonderland comes to Headway Suffolk!

Christmas has officially arrived at Headway Suffolk with the creation of a Winter Wonderland at its Ipswich hub to spread cheer and joy at the end of a very tough year for staff and clients.

With clients missing out on the traditional carols service and lunch at St Augustine’s Church and the Christmas party at Haughley Park due to Covid, staff have been busy in their own time turning the Ipswich hub’s main room into a festive treat for Headway’s clients.

The Winter Wonderland has been handmade from scratch with clients involved in craft sessions to create Santa’s Grotto, nutcracker, away in a Manger, Snowmen, a fireplace, Christmas countdown, model village, nativity displays and candles in memory of those who have passed away, complete with a hand sanitiser station.

Anne, a client at Headway, said: “I didn’t think we would have much cheer this year, but as usual the staff have gone the extra mile. It certainly has the wow factor!”

Ellen Burman, a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Assistant who led the project, said: “It was great that all the clients got involved and it was nice they had something to look forward to. They were excited to see it finished. It was a massive team effort from everyone.”

Chief Executive Helen Fairweather stated: “The staff have worked so hard this year getting us through Covid. It is remarkable that they still had energy, time and skill to create Winter Wonderland. We are so lucky to have such caring staff.”

The charity, which supports adults living with acquired brain injuries, strokes and neurological conditions, is facing a shortfall of £100,000 this year due to lost funding from social care and the cancellation of fundraising activities, while seeing more referrals with long Covid.

Headway Suffolk calls for support this Christmas

Headway Suffolk is calling for local businesses, community groups and supporters to support our services this festive season after a difficult year.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, as a charity we have continued supporting our clients to help with their rehab and care as best as possible and reverting to virtual services, such as counselling sessions and understanding brain injury courses, to reduce risk.

We have also increased our services with a helpline, delivering meals and food parcels to isolated clients, and upped our homecare provision to assist the local authorities.

Headway Suffolk has now been able to resume most of our face-to-face services, with our Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds hubs open for life skills and cognitive activities, support for clients to access community activities, Brainy Dogs therapy, and input from our physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and occupational therapist.

However, due to lost funding from social care and the cancellation of many fundraising activities, we estimate we faces a shortfall of £100,000 in funding in 2020 due to coronavirus.

Therefore, we are asking if the local community could support the charity raise proceeds through our new Headway Suffolk Christmas E-Cards.

The UK spent over £200 million on Christmas Cards in 2018, which is higher than anywhere in the world. Once Christmas is over, one billion of those cards end up in landfill because they can’t be recycled, according to research by the Great Card Association.

Help Headway Suffolk’s cause and the environment by sending our new e-cards in return for a donation that you will save on cards and postage. It’s quick and easy to select a design, make a donation and send to colleagues and family via Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or LinkedIn.

Get sending here! – uk.virginmoneygiving.com/headwaysuffolkxmascards

With office parties a no-go, Headway Suffolk is also encouraging local businesses to go virtual and hold an office party on Zoom, where everyone can dress up, share their pets and families with each other and support our cause with a donation.

Donate here! – virginmoneygiving.com/charities/headwaysuffolk

Our Winter Newsletter is here!

Today we have released our Winter Newsletter, with the latest news and updates from Headway Suffolk.

We look at how our rehab and support services are open throughout the latest Covid restrictions.

Peter shares his story of how Headway Suffolk helps him to live independently with memory loss after a stroke.

We thank the valuable support from local companies and community groups that has been invaluable in 2020.

We highlight our partnership with Lidl and Neighbourly to support isolated and vulnerable clients with food parcels.

How you can support Headway Suffolk by sending our Christmas E-cards and virtual office party donations.

We preview the Neuro Conference (in May), which has keynote speakers on links between dementia and football.

Fundraisers in our Sponsored Cycle Ride and Walk raise £5,000 from the delayed event.

Plus more!

To receive the latest news from Headway Suffolk direct to your inbox, sign up to our mailing list.

Read it here: Headway Suffolk Winter Newsletter 2020.

Headway and Lidl team up to tackle hunger

Headway Suffolk has been named charity partner for Lidl’s Ipswich Ravenswood store for the supermarket’s new ‘Teaming up to Tackle Hunger’ campaign, which launches on Thursday 12 November and runs for four weeks.

During the campaign, shoppers in the store will be encouraged to pick up a flyer to donate one of five products (rice, UHT milk, muesli, chopped tomatoes or tinned tuna), and scan it at the till to donate to Headway Suffolk.

Early next year, all of these donations will be added up and the products will be matched in quantity by Lidl, before generously donating them to Headway Suffolk.

Headway Suffolk will then distribute these items, plus many more, in food parcels to its vulnerable clients isolated at home and living with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions. It will also help to supplement the meals provided to clients in our hubs.

If you’re not heading to the store, you can still help by making a donation by texting FOOD to 70007 to give £3. All donations will be distributed by the Neighbourly Foundation (charity 1189514) to local good causes, including Headway Suffolk, tackling hunger.

In early 2020, 1.5 million people in the UK reported not eating for a whole day because they had no money or access to food, and requests for help from local charities and foodbanks have more than doubled.

Lidl are supporting these local groups and helping to make sure no families have to go hungry in the future. They aim to increase the amount of meals they donate to their partner charities to 5 million each and every year.

Find out more about the ‘Teaming up to tackle hunger campaign here: www.neighbourly.com/TackleHunger

Neighbourly is a platform that helps businesses make a positive impact in their communities by donating volunteer time, money and surplus products to local good causes. Headway Suffolk’s profile can be found here: www.neighbourly.com/project/5bfd4258c7ac8e23b4dda39a

Services open during November lockdown

Headway Suffolk’s services will remain OPEN during new lockdown restrictions in force from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, which were recently announced by the government.

Therefore, our clients can be assured that the following services remain open to support them in their continued rehabilitation and wellbeing.

The services are as follows:

Ipswich Hub (Mon – Fri)

Bury St Edmunds Hub (Wed – Fri)

Clinical Therapies


Community Support

Brainy Dogs

Food/Essentials deliveries

The one change is that unfortunately our Haverhill hub has had to temporary close again due to it being in a community centre.

If you have any queries, please call us on 01473 712225.

Jody braves stormy Felixstowe in virtual marathon

Courageous supporter Jody Smith braved the harsh weather in Felixstowe on Sunday to complete the Virtual London Marathon!

Jody will be running the London Marathon when it returns to the capital in October 2021 for Headway Suffolk, as we continue to support her dad Gary after he had a stroke.

To find out more about their story, go to: Jody & Gary’s story

Please sponsor Jody if you can. She has already raised over £2,000!

Her sponsorship page is: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/constancefield

Suffolk stroke survivor supports memory loss campaign

Memory problems after a brain injury can be life changing and are very different from the usual, everyday memory frustrations many of us experience. They can make a survivor feel alone, angry and confused and can impact every aspect of their life.

A recent study by Headway – the brain injury association found that 72% of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems, with 81% reporting that their life would be improved if people had a better understanding of this complex condition.

Peter Brown, 62, from Bury St Edmunds, is just one of those people battling severe memory loss following a brain injury.

He is sharing his story as part of Headway Suffolk’s Memory Loss: A campaign to remember in order to raise awareness and increase understanding of life after brain injury.

Peter was a hard-working family man with two daughters when he suffered a life-changing stroke in March 2012 at the age of 54.

Stroke is the second most prevalent cause (37%) of an acquired brain injury (after head injury 41%) in Suffolk, with 1,215 people admitted to hospital each year. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off and starves it of oxygen.

The lasting effects on Peter’s short-term memory meant the end of his working life.

He said: “I had to give up work. When you’re filling in job forms and say you have had a stroke and have memory problems, at this age, they go ‘next. Give us a young man we can mould.’

“And then my marriage ended. It felt like my world had fallen apart.”


After six years in the RAF and working on the railways, Peter has adjusted to his new life with regular visits from Headway Suffolk’s community staff to support him to live independently at home.

Staff use prompting techniques and Peter uses his diary to remind himself of daily tasks, such as what shopping he needs, when to hoover, which meals to eat, etc.

He added: “I keep a diary and the notes and reminders are really helpful.

“I really appreciate what Headway do. It’s not until you have an injury or a problem that you realise there is support like Headway out there.

“You’ve always got to have a positive outlook and do your best. I’ve still got my mobility, which could have gone if I had had my stroke in the wrong place or it had gone on for longer.”

>> Click to read Peter’s story in full

Memory loss is one of the most commonly experienced effects of brain injury and can have a profound impact on the lives of survivors and their loved ones. In the last year, memory was one of the most prevalent issues callers mentioned when ringing the Headway Helpline.

A study released today as part of Action for Brain Injury Week 2020 found that the issue of memory loss is widely misunderstood, with more than 2,000 respondents labelling their experiences as frustrating, confusing, devastating and debilitating.


Study findings

  • 70% of brain injury survivors struggle to recall personal memories, such as their wedding or the birth of their child.
  • 65% of brain injury survivors feel that their personal relationships have been affected as a result of their memory problems.
  • 85% of brain injury survivors feel that memory problems have a negative impact on their life.
  • 72% of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems.
  • 71% of brain injury survivors feel unfairly judged or treated as a result of their memory problems. 


Hubs reopening and accepting new referrals

Headway Suffolk is pleased to confirm that it is reopening its neuro hubs in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds back to normal and is accepting new referrals following temporary closure.

The charity, which supports adults living with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions, had to shut its doors on all its hubs, clinical therapies and community activities due to the Covid virus in March for several months, while it focused on vital homecare, virtual rehab and food deliveries.

As the situation has started to ease, Headway has gradually opened its Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds hubs on limited capacity and set days to existing clients, with strict procedures on infection control, social distancing, temperature checks and personal protective equipment.

Following this successful trial, it can now open both hubs back to normal whilst still following the safety procedures and there is capacity to welcome new referrals.

The hubs, open Monday to Friday during the day, offer a range of rehabilitation and life skills activities to help with cognition, coordination and dexterity, as well as clinical therapy appointments in physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and counselling.

Its Haverhill hub, based at the Chalkstone Community Centre in Millfields Way, is due to reopen one day a week (day to be confirmed) from October and new referrals are again being taken.


In addition, Headway now offers support with an outdoor gym sessions at Augustine’s Green on Recreation Way in Ipswich ten times a week, with indoor gyms deemed too high risk.

Helen Fairweather, chief executive at Headway Suffolk, said: “We have worked very hard to ensure our clients can safely get back to the vital rehab they need for their ongoing wellbeing and recovery, having missed out for several months.

“The outdoor gym is very close to the hub and has a range of equipment for clients to work on, as well as benches for when they get fatigued. The clients love it and we hope to keep this going throughout the winter.”

As well as the outdoor gym, clients can also take part in walking netball and walking football.

To enquire and to make referrals, contact Headway Suffolk on 01473 712225 or email info@headwaysuffolk.org.uk.

You can also complete and return our referral form.

Cyclists and Walkers raise £5,000 for Headway Suffolk

Passionate cyclists and walkers responded to Headway Suffolk’s call for support by taking part in its Cycle Ride and Walk fundraiser and raising a fantastic £5,000 for the charity (on 5 September).

Like most charities, Headway Suffolk has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and estimated a £100,000 shortfall in funding this year due to its hubs closing, therapies stopping and not being able to carry out community support activities for several months, as well as fundraising events being cancelled or postponed.

But as ever, supporters of the charity went the extra mile to help out as 43 people took part by either cycling 30 and 40 miles through Ipswich, Martlesham, Felixstowe and Newbourne, or walking a 10 mile route around Ipswich.

It was the 12th annual hosting of the event, which was originally scheduled for May but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As well as individual supporters, a number of businesses took part, including Timberwolf, Glemham Underwriting Ltd, Barnes Construction and asset and property management company Seven Group.

Seven have been stalwarts of the event and this year was no exception. Jackie Dunnett, group director, took part in the walk for the second successive year after her husband Roy Dunnett suffered a stroke and was supported by Headway Suffolk.

Jackie said: “The five-mile walk from Headway to the quay was really nice with great weather and we stopped for coffee at Isaacs. But the walk back was much more difficult! All the cyclists did the full route and did really well.

“Headway were fantastic with Roy after his stroke, so it’s good to give some support back.”

Anna Leggett sustained a brain injury in a road accident nearly four years ago. She completed the 10 miles walk to conclude a personal challenge to walk a marathon distance over five weeks.

Anna said: “I didn’t think I’d do the 10 miles as I haven’t walked to that extent for about 12 years before I had my children, so it’s fantastic to realise you can do it. It’s a massive sense of achievement.

“I had no idea how important a piece of the puzzle fitness and exercise are. I can really feel the brain and general health benefits. You’ve got to keep believing you’re not stuck in one place and you can keep progressing.

“I feel like I have done a marathon. I felt quite emotional doing it, especially going back to Headway for the first time after three years when I was in a bad way during my rehab and realising how far I’ve come. I really am thankful to Headway for their support when I needed it.”

Headway Suffolk’s chief executive, Helen Fairweather, who cycled the 40 miles herself, thanked everyone for their fantastic efforts.

She said: “It was a really good turnout and we very much appreciate everyone making the effort and coming out to support us after having to postpone it in May. We are delighted to have raised such a brilliant amount.

“It has been a very difficult year at Headway Suffolk having to close a number of our services for several months due to Covid and seeing funding reduced. But we have supported our clients in different ways throughout and it is thanks to the support of people taking part in the Cycle Ride and Walk that we are able to do that.”

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity that supports adults with brain injury, stroke and neurological conditions through an extensive range of rehabilitation and therapy services.